The US Court System
The U.S. has a dual court system, state and federal. Both systems are organized into three basic levels of courts —
2.intermediate courts of appeal
3.and a high court, or Supreme Court.
The state courts are concerned essentially with cases arising under state law, and the federal courts with cases arising under federal law.
Trial courts bear the main burden in the administration of justice. Cases begin there and in most instances are finally resolved there. The trial courts in each state include:
common pleas courts, which have general civil and criminal jurisdiction
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The supreme court of each state is primarily a court of appeal and the court of last resort.
The federal court structure is similar to the structure of the state court system. The trial courts in the federal system are the United States district courts. The United States courts of appeal are intermediate courts of appeal between the district courts and the United States Supreme Court.
The US Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation and the court of last resort. It consists of a
chief justice and
eight associate justices, all of whom are appointed for life by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.
The duty of the Supreme Court is to decide whether laws passed by Congress agree with the Constitution. The great legal issues facing the Supreme Court at present are Government involvement with religion, abortion and privacy rights, race and sex discrimination.
A criminal case begins when a person goes to court and files a complaint that another person has committed an offence. This is followed by issuing either an arrest warrant or a summons.
1. A criminal case is started when an indictment is returned by a grand jury before anything else happens in the case. Indictments most often are felony accusations against persons who have been arrested and referred to the grand jury.
2. After an accused is indicted, he is brought into court and is told about the nature of the charge against him and asked to plead.
3.He can plead guilty, which is the admission that he committed the crime and can be sentenced without a trial.
3. He can plead not guilty and be tried. As a general rule the parties to civil suits and defendants in criminal cases are entitled to trial by jury of 12 jurors. But a jury is not provided...